A lot of Houston's young adults are exploring their creative side — and jewelry designer Lauren Craft is one of them.
Premiering the Lauren Elizabeth Collection, a fine jewelry line of statement bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and rings, the designer shares her entrepreneurial journey. “I’ve always had a passion for jewelry. Since I was four years old I was playing with it," Craft says.
A graduate of Southern Methodist University, she was inspired to build a jewelry line after an internship with Alexis Bittar. After it ended, she moved back to Houston and begin sketching.
Ready to launch her dreams of becoming a jewelry designer, Craft traveled to India to meet potential manufacturers. Though she was enlightened with knowledge of the process, Craft wasn't satisfied simply communicating through her sketches, so she returned to New York to study at the Gemological Institute of America. Through a detailed course in a computer-aided drafting and design program (CAAD), she discovered a crucial process in designing her jewels.
"What really helped me with my business was the CADD program. With CADD there is no room for errors, sketches can only go so far,” Craft says. The program helped translate her complex designs from sketches to dynamic gold pieces.
Investing her time, skills and creative energy for an entire year, she has crafted a collection of more than 140 fine pieces. Available at Sloan Hall and Katia, the fashion forward pieces are primarily 14-kart gold adorned with diamonds, sapphires, and precious stones.
"I've gone very fashion forward," says the designer, "I'm trying to keep up with trends." The eclectic collection ranges from a blue sapphire evil eye necklace to simple classic diamond bands.
“When I design, I go off my own style. I would never design something I wouldn’t wear,” Lauren confesses as she sports several pieces from her own collection. With up to 10 diamond band rings stacked on her graceful finger and pavé diamond bracelets elegantly cinching her wrists, the designer makes the perfect model for her collection.
From delicate everyday bangles to bold cocktail rings, the eclectic jewelry line is composed of unique pieces that easily illuminate any ensemble. While the collection’s delicate pieces can serve for everyday wear, the precious metals and stones make them classic fashion forward pieces.
The popular gold hammered "Socialite" bangles are quite versatile. Bejeweled with rubies, sapphires, and champagne diamonds, the light bangles easily adorn an office ensemble, a lazy Saturday frock, or an LBD to make a style setting statement.
The inherent femininity of Lauren Elizabeth’s gold flower diamond ring draws glare to one’s hands. Add some flower power to your eveningwear with the diamond adorned statement ring.
Dear to the designer’s heart is an eight-carat diamond disc pendant on a 34-inch gold chain, “my favorite piece I’ve designed so far,” she says. The sleek long chain carries an alluring diamond and sapphire garnished disc.
“It’s my passion, I will be doing this when I am 80 years old,” she confesses.
With her workshop in the first floor of her home, and daily visits to her local manufacturer, the designer’s delight comes from her work. From pen and paper to computer-aided crafting, the talented entrepreneur serves Houston with a harmonious collection of precious stone adorned jewels, inspiring young artists to take a stab at their own dreams.
Annina Stefanelli writes a fashion blog, Cinched at the Waist.